Organised by the World Ethnosports Confederation, the four-day festival is being held in Turkey's biggest city. More than 800 athletes from home and abroad will showcase their skills and compete in 11 sports.
Events include mounted archery, wrestling, horse riding, oil wrestling, traditional Turkic and Central Asian sports. Folk music is also part of the festival.
Turkish Sports Minister Akif Cagatay Kilic, Governor of Istanbul Vasip Sahin and President of the World Ethnosport Confederation Bilal Erdogan attend the festival.
Organisers are expecting one million visitors this year. They moved the venue to more prominently showcase the festival in light of last year's inaugural crowds.
The festival is all about atmosphere, Turkic culture and audience enjoyment. Forty-two yurts (traditional tents) were put up to bring to Istanbul the experience of the nomadic lifestyle of some Central Asian cultures.
Turkic cuisine and handicrafts are also on display. Visitors will also be introduced to ancient rituals celebrating childbirth and wedding ceremonies.
Artists who keep alive traditional art forms despite a shrinking number of practitioners will be on hand to show their skill.
Twenty-six plays will be put on for children. In oil wrestling nearly 300 athletes battle for glory.
The festival concludes on May 14.